This project helps answer Big Questions about moral formation by developing and deploying innovative methods for measuring moral worldviews and their consequences. Research in the cognitive sciences-though vital-has overemphasized the biological dimension of morality at the expense of attention to moral cultures and worldviews, limiting our ability to account for the social sources of moral difference. The project addresses these limitations in three phases. Phase I assembles morality scholars for a mini-conference on measurement. Phase II fields three pilot studies to assess best practices for measuring morality. Phase III implements the best techniques as part of Wave 4 of the National Study of Youth and Religion, joining state-of-the-art measures of morality to a decade of panel data in order to shed light on the social processes of moral formation. This two-year project will yield the following principal outputs: improved techniques for measuring morality, 6-8 papers on measurement and moral formation, and, results permitting, a cross-listed Sociology/Cognitive Science book on moral formation from a major university press. More general outcomes include: setting standards for the rapidly emerging 'sociology of morality' and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration around questions of morality.
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